Glasgow has led the UK in its efforts to rapidly establish diagnostic testing facilities – using our existing partnership with industry and the NHS to create the largest, highest throughput COVID-19 testing facility in the UK.

The University of Glasgow utilised its services, scientists, and equipment to establish the UK’s National Testing Programme, including Prof Anna Dominiczak, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow being invited to direct the UK-wide Lighthouse capacity for COVID-19 testing as Director of Laboratories.

The government wants to track Covid-19 in the population to try to understand the current rate of infection alongside how many people have developed antibodies to the virus.

The Glasgow Lighthouse Lab COVID-19 testing centre, the UK’s highest throughput diagnostic facility

The Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow (LLiG) was established by the University of Glasgow and the UK Department of Health &; Social Care in April 2020 as a national COVID-19 testing facility analysing samples from individuals with suspected COVID-19 infections. Based at the University’s Clinical Innovation Zone, our triple helix partnership with industry and pan-Scottish collaborations (BioAscent, BioClavis and the University of Dundee) enabled the rapid establishment of what is currently the UK’s highest throughput diagnostic facility.

In March 2021, the LLiG reached the milestone of processing over 12 million tests, a phenomenal achievement in supporting the country’s national COVID-19 testing effort and confirming the critical role the LLiG has played in response to the pandemic.

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Transforming sports centre into walk-through test centre

Meanwhile, Glasgow Caledonian University’s ARC sports centre has been transformed into a key walk-through COVID-19 test centre to serve the local community of Glasgow. The centre enables anyone with coronavirus symptoms, including students, GCU staff and members of the public, to get a free swab test in less than a minute.

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Developing non-contact thermometers

An example of the fantastic work that can be achieved when academics and industry work together to find solutions to real-world issues, is a collaboration between UWS & Semefab (funded by CENSIS & InnovateUK ERANET) which has produced the technology that will be embedded in non-contact thermometers. The firm have received orders for more than 12 million of the chips from across the world. The sensors embedded in the chips absorb infrared radiation, giving an accurate measurement of human body temperature without the need for contact, helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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